Lunar Linux:DesktopEnvironments

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Desktop Environments


Minimal Installation

Once you have successfully completed the installation of the ISO and completed the post-install tasks described in man lfirsttime, what you are left with is a pretty minimal installation -- this is deliberate! Lunar Linux now gives you the power and the freedom to customize your system to your own specific needs.

  • If you want to set up a lean, mean server you don't have to uninstall lots of things and hope that you have closed any potential security holes, you have a secure system on which to build. You probably don't need to read the rest of this article either.
  • If you want to set up a full desktop environment, or a light-weight window manager, then you still have a little work to do.

Tips for new users

If you have a "standard" hardware configuration, and you stick to the defaults, the installation of Lunar Linux should be straightforward, and therefore appears deceptively simple. There are some things that you can do to keep things running smoothly:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Take it one step at a time.
  • Build a working system first.
  • Add the bells and whistles later.

In Lunar, modules have explicit dependencies on those things that are really needed, so installing 'a' will first install 'b' and 'c' for you. Some modules have explicit optional dependencies on nice-to-have features, so if 'd' isn't already installed you will be asked whether you want to install it too. Saying yes could mean installing all of those modules that 'd' depends on as well. In addition, each module's own configuration process may detect what is, and isn't installed, and adapt itself accordingly. Note that you can preview what will be built and pre-answer the installation questions by using 'lin -r --deps' before running the real 'lin'.

Usually all of this Just Works[TM], but sometimes a module fails to build. Sometimes dependencies have changed, or are missing, and you may need to install the missing module explicitly before trying again. If it's an optional dependency, re-run with 'lin -rc' and this time say yes, or maybe even no. If it can't download the source file, Go to the website for that package and see if you can download it manually, and save it in /var/spool/lunar. If you have persistent problems downloading source files, run 'lunar' and check whether changing the mirror site helps.

The ISO comes with screen for switching between virtual terminals, an ascii-based web browser called lynx and the IRC clients irssi and ircii, so you may be able to find sources and additional help yourself. If you do have problems, please join the #lunar channel and maybe someone will be available in your timezone who will be able to help you:

 irssi -c    # /join lunar

First install X explicitly

Even though Lunar Linux isn't aimed at new Linux users and assumes that you have some idea what you are doing, many people installing for the first time forget to install X first. Wait! I hear you gasp, Isn't X installed automatically? No? Why not? The reason is simple: adding the dependency tracking to all modules that might need to use X would be an awful lot of work, would lead to a very dense dependency tree that would be hard to manage, and would affect all users, even if they wanted to run a lean, mean, headless server. And as Lunar users are supposed to know what they are doing, you should also know that if you want to run graphical applications, you should first install the graphical environment.

You don't need to install all of the X components one by one, although you are free to do so if you really want. Lunar Linux provides a profile module called XOrg7 that is a sort of dummy module that doesn't do anything itself, but it depends on a lot of other modules. Installing a profile module therefore installs all of the modules that it depends on. To install a "standard" X environment simply:

 lin XOrg7 ; lin additional drivers...

You can find the additional drivers under /var/lib/lunar/moonbase/xorg7/drivers, or run lvu section xorg7/drivers.

However, this doesn't install all possible X applications. There are some, like xterm, xhost and the desktop environments, of course, that you will need to install separately.

At this point you can run 'startx' to have a very basic session in the 'twm' window manager. You might now want to install an X-based web browser and IRC client before going further.


Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. In the past, many of the Lunar developers were also Xfce developers, so Xfce has traditionally been the best integrated into Lunar Linux. You can install all of the components one by one, or you can install the "standard" environment in one go using the xfce4 profile module:

 lin xfce4


KDE has one Lunar developer who is actively following the official releases, and therefore updates to the KDE modules in Lunar usually occur within a few days of the official release. You can install the "standard" environment using the kde4 profile module:

 lin kde4


[1] is not so popular with the Lunar developers and as a result it is not as up-to-date as Xfce and KDE. In fact, we could really use some help! You can install the "standard" environment using the gnome2 profile module but be prepared to give it a helping hand:

 lin gnome2

Lightweight Window Managers

As well as the "big three" above, Lunar Linux also provides modules for several lightweight window managers, although these are not guaranteed to be up-to-date. You can find many of them under /var/lib/lunar/moonbase/x11-wm or by using lvu section x11-wm. Some of these come from module submissions by Lunar users.

Note that some cutting-edge developments can also be found in the zbeta section of the Moonbase but are not guaranteed to be stable.

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